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Libels. London, 1685.” This last publication called forth the following lines from our author.

Northleigh was the son of a Hamburgh merchant, and born in that city. He became a student in Exeter College, in 1674, aged 17 years; and was, it appears, studying law in the Inner Temple in 1685, when his book was published. He was then, consequently, about 28 years old ; so that his genius was not peculiarly premature, notwithstanding our author's compliment. He afterwards took a medical degree at Cambridge, and practised physic at Exeter.---WOOD, Athenæ Oxon. Vol. II. p. 962.

These verses, like the address to Hoddesden, are ranked among the Epistles, because Dryden gave that title to other recommendatory verses of the same nature.

EPISTLE THE EIGHTH.

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So Joseph, yet a youth, expounded well
The boding dream, and did the event foretell;
Judged by the past, and drew the Parallel.
Thus early Solomon the truth explored,
The right awarded, and the babe restored.
Thus Daniel, ere to prophecy he grew,
The perjured Presbyters did first subdue,
And freed Susanna from the canting crew.
Well may our monarchy triumphant stand,
While warlike James protects both sea and land;
And, under covert of his seven-fold shield,
Thou send'st thy shafts to scour the distant field.
By law thy powerful pen has set us free;
Thou studiest that, and that may study thee.

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EPISTLE THE NINTH.

LETTER

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SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE,

Sir George Etherege, as a lively and witty companion, a smoothi sonnetteer, and an excellent writer of comedy, was in high reputation in the seventeenth century. He lived on terms of intimacy with the men of genius, and with those of rank, at the court of Charles the Second, and appears to have been particularly acquainted with Dryden. Etherege enjoyed in a particular manner the favour of Queen Mary of Este, through whose influence he was sent envoy to Hamburgh, and afterwards became resident minister at Ratisbon. In this situation, he did not cease to interest himself in the progress of English literature; and we have several of his letters, both in prose and verse, written with great wit and vivacity, to the Duke of Buckingham, and other persons of wit and honour at the court of London. Among others, he wrote an epistle in verse to the Earl of Middleton, who engaged Dryden to return the following answer to it. As Sir George's verses are lively and pleasing, I have prefixed them to Dryden's epistle. Both pieces, with a second letter from Etherege to Middleton, appeared in Dryden's Miscellanies.

Our poet's epistle to Sir George Etherege affords an example how easily Dryden could adapt his poetry to the style which the moment required; since, although this is the only instance in which

he has used the verse of eight syllables, it flows as easily from his pen as if he had never written in another measure. This is the more remarkable, as, in the “Essay on Satire," Dryden speaks very contemptuously of the eight syllable, or Hudibrastic measure, and the ornaments proper to it, as a little instrument, unworthy the use of a great master. * Here, however, he happily retorts upon the witty

knight, with his own weapons of gallant and courtly ridicule, and acquits himself, as well in the light arms of a polite and fashionable courtier, as when he wields the trenchant brand of his own keen satire.

Our author had formerly favoured Sir George Etherege with an excellent epilogue to his popular play, called “The Man of Mode,"? acted in 1676, and he occasionally speaks of him in his writings with great respect. The date of this epistle is not easily ascertained. From a letter of Etherege to the Duke of Buckingham, it

appears, that Sir George was at Ratisbon when Dryden was engaged in his controversial poetry ; t but whether that letter be previous or subsequent to the epistle to the Earl of Middleton, seems uncertain.

Considering the high reputation which Sir George Etherege enjoyed, and the figure which he made as a courtier and a man of letters, it is humbling to add, that we have no accurate information concerning the time or manner of his death. It seems certain, that he never returned from the Continent; but it is dubious, whether, according to one report, he followed the fortunes of King James, and resided with him at the court of St Germains till his death, or whether, as others have said, that event was occasioned by his falling down the stairs of his own house at Ratisbon, when, after drinking freely with a large company, he was attempting to do the honours of their retreat. From the date of the letter to the Duke of Buckingham, 21st October, 1689, it is plain he was then at Ratisbon ; and it is somewhat singular, that he appears to have retained his official situation of Resident, though nearly twelve months had elapsed since the Revolution. This seems to give countenance to the latter report of his having died at Ratisbon, The date of that event was probably about 1694.

Vol. XIII. p. 108. + " They tell me my old acquaintance, Mr Dryden, has left off the theatre, and wholly applies himself to the study of the controversies between the two churches, Pray heaven, this strange alteration in him portends nothing disastrous to the state ; but I have all along observed, that poets do religion as little service by drawing their pens for it, as the divines do poetry, by pretending to versification.” This letter is dated 21st October, 1689.

SIR GEORGE ETHEREGE,

TO THE

EARL OF MIDDLETON. *

SINCE love and verse, as well as wine,
Are brisker where the sun does shine,
'Tis something to lose two degrees,
Now age itself begins to freeze:
Yet this I patiently could bear,
If the rough Danube's beauties were
But only two degrees less fair
Than the bright nymphs of gentle Thames,
Who warm me hither with their beams :
Such power they have, they can dispense
Five hundred miles their influence.
But hunger forces men to eat,
Though no temptation's in the meat.
How would the ogling sparks despise
The darling damsel of my eyes,
Should they behold her at a play,
As she's tricked up on holiday,
When the whole family combine,
For public pride, to make her shine !
Her locks, which long before lay matted,
Are on this day combed out and plaited;
A diamond bodkin in each tress,
The badges of her nobleness ;
For every stone, as well as she,
Can boast an ancient pedigree.
These formed the jewel erst did grace
The cap of the first Gravet o' the race,
Preferred by Graffin | Marian
To adorn the handle of her fan;

Charles, 2d Earl of Middleton, a man of some literary accomplishments He had been Envoy Extraordinary to the Emperor of Germany, and was now one of the secretaries of state for Scotland. † Graf, or Count.

Countess.

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